Why Dawn Trevor's happy to take the lead backstage
Dawn Trevor started life as a veterinary nurse, becoming a science teacher before running her own business Equus Leather, juggling the day-to-day management of the workplace and being mum to a four-year-old. She is also vice-chairwoman of the Castle Players and if that wasn’t enough, recently co-founded Teesdale Operatic Society before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Where does your love of the theatre come from?
Primary school. I remember every Wednesday morning we did RE, which was listening to a bit of the cast recording of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and then we had to draw a picture of what happened in that part of the story. I loved it, so much so that for Christmas that year my mum bought be a cassette tape of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Greatest Hits and I was hooked.
What gives you the most enjoyment – being on stage or behind the scenes?
As I’ve grown older and realised my talents on stage are minimal, I’ve definitely enjoyed being more in control backstage. I love the planning, the organising, the paperwork. Being able to have an idea and work with other people to bring that to life is much more fun than being on stage for me now.
How did you come to be involved with the Castle Players?
I moved to the area in 2013 and I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Bowes Museum and thought it was great. I then saw an article in the Mercury the following January advertising the first meeting for The Merry Wives of Windsor and I went along and joined in.
Were you at all nervous about directing last year’s summer production?
Nervous isn’t the right word. Anxious, yes. It was a big risk both personally and publically.
Alice in Wonderland was a departure from the Players’ tried and tested summer Shakespeare productions – why the change and was there much discussion about doing something different?
Lots of discussion! Castle Players are very welcoming of new ideas and new directors.
I’d already directed a small play, Black Comedy at The Witham in 2017, so when I said I was interested in doing a summer production, that was welcomed.
I didn’t feel confident in directing Shakespeare, it’s a bit scary right?
And I feel you need to be 100 per cent into the play you’re doing in order for it to work.
When I proposed Alice, there was lots of discussion, it was a risk for the Castle Players, but I think it worked out okay.
Were you happy with the way it all went – what were the highlights for you?
I was over the moon – mainly because the weather was great. It was well received and was pretty much how I had planned it to be and look.
The thing I’m most pleased with is the cohesion created within the (massive) cast of people of all ages, which is sometimes tricky to navigate.
I also had a moment during the matinee when I looked around the audience and saw lots of children. If Alice inspired just one child love the theatre then that’s a job well done for me.
After Alice in Wonderland you went on to become one of the founders of Teesdale Operatic Society (TOS) – how did this come about and how does this group fit into the theatre landscape of the dale?
Musicals are in my blood and are my first love (sorry Shakespeare). Before I found the Castle Players back in 2013 I was looking for a local musical theatre group and was surprised I couldn’t find one locally.
We can all agree that Darlington Operatic Society is pretty much professional in its output and it’s a long old trek to Richmond Operatic Society on a dark winter’s night, so TOS gives the people of Barney and the surrounding dales who love musical theatre the chance to be involved in the musicals they love. I feel it sits nicely between the Castle Players and the local choirs, giving the chance for people to act and sing together.
Are you a fan of the Hollywood musicals (Seven Brides, Oklahoma, Singing in the Rain etc) or do you prefer something a little more modern (Lloyd Webber, We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia)?
Tricky question this. The first musical I was ever saw was Fiddler on the Roof and whilst I didn’t love it, it sparked an interest in the older musicals. I was in various more modern musicals after that (Godspell, Grease, Les Mis, etc) but I definitely enjoyed the oldies when they used to be played on the TV on a Sunday afternoon. Right now it’s all about Hamilton for me, but there’s plenty I’ve not seen yet.
You had planned to stage Joseph as the society’s first production – how were preparations going before the Covid-19 lockdown?
Prep was going really well. The licence was bought, our brilliant musical directors John and Jane Hunter were organised with the audition pieces, we’d had two get togethers and a brilliant meeting at The Witham planning the set and lighting….then it all stopped. That planning is still useful, so it’s not lost work, but I’m eager to get going.
Despite the Government’s warnings of another six months in lockdown of some shape or form, are you optimistic about the future of live theatre performance?
Oh you have to be I think don’t you? I have friends in musicals in the West End who have had no income since March 23. As important as amateur theatre is to those of us who do it and consume it, the professionals need to be getting back to work and certainly need more help to do this.
It will come back, but I must confess I’ve enjoyed being able to access live theatre from my sofa. The Old Vic for instance has been live streaming plays that I would never normally have been able to get to see.
Despite the current situation, can people still get involved with the operatic society – where can they find out more?
Absolutely. The first thing to do is check out our website www.teesdaleoperaticsociety.co.uk where you can subscribe to our mailing list.
This is the main way we keep in touch and let people know what we are up to.
We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Currently, the aim is to be able to restart in February, and we have December dates for Joseph booked with The Witham.
I wish I had a crystal ball though.